Shazam! is finally out in theaters which means it is time once again to ask the age-old question: How was it?
Shazam! follows a young orphan, Billy Batson, as he settles in with his newest foster family. Following an incident at school, Billy finds himself now in the body of a grown man, and one with super powers at that. With the help of his foster-brother Freddy, Billy must now master his powers before Dr. Thaddeus Sivana steals them from him.
As any movie fan knows, a hero is only as good as his villain. Unfortunately, Dr. Sivana doesn’t initially come off as a villain on the same scale of excellence that Ocean Master did for Aquaman. He doesn’t have much reason behind why he’s trying to steal Shazam’s powers, he just is. He is evil for the sake of being evil. Apart from this, Sivana is an excellent villain for Shazam’s first outing. He’s smart, logically figures out who Shazam really is, and even though he doesn’t have much reason for what he’s doing, he is always intimidating and a force to be reckoned with.
One of the core themes of Shazam is that powers do not make someone a hero, a theme which is personified by Billy. He isn’t pure of heart, He gets powers forced upon him, and he does what any child who suddenly gets turned into a superhero would do: He uses his newfound age to do everything he can’t do as a child. He buys beer, tries to purchase a Lair, and visits a club. Zachary Levi’s performance is easily the best part of Shazam, as he perfectly captures the childlike wonder of someone discovering they have superpowers.
Billy and his Family
One of the key subplots in Shazam revolves around Billy adapting to his new foster family, and to Shazam’s credit, the film does all viewers a pleasantry by skipping nearly all of the familial drama that usually comes with a foster family. None of the foster kids were hostile towards Billy at first; In fact, they were quite amicable towards him. The foster home presented in Shazam isn’t filled with a bunch of orphans that can’t wait to leave; instead it’s filled with a family.
CGI and Action
Shazam, much like Aquaman, features stunning CGI, but doesn’t feature anything truly breathtaking or groundbreaking. Transitions between Billy and Shazam are excellent, as they should be considering how prominently they are featured. All of the magic of Dr. Sivana and all of Billy’s powers are beliveable enough. There just isn’t anything CGI-wise that is spectacular enough to bother mentioning.
On the contrary, action scenes throughout Shazam are exceptional. Fights constantly blend tense action with comedy perfectly. The fight through the mall towards the end of the film’s second act features Billy throwing real-life DC merchandise at Sivana, rather than being heroic or attempting to fight back. Tense moments are usually undercut with some form of humor, and fortunately for Shazam, the humor plays well to the movie’s favor.
Conclusions and the Future
Shazam proves to be an undeniable success for DC. The perfect blend of humor and heart are a stark contrast to the grim picture that the DCEU set out to paint. The cast is phenomenal, and the potential sequels have more than enough to work with. With the undeniable success of Shazam and Aquaman, it would seem DC have finally hit their stride. These movies are laying the groundwork for a proper DC universe.